The Challenges of Fire Department Connections

Issue 10 and Volume 163.

By TODD CONNORS Scenario: You are on the second-due engine to an automatic fire alarm in a high-rise for the elderly. Many false alarms have come from this location before—burned popcorn in the break room, pots left on the stove, the old fire alarm system that simply malfunctions. The first engine arrives on scene and reports, “Nothing showing; alarm on the 12th floor.” Nothing signifies a working fire, and you think, “Why don’t they fix this fire alarm system? I’m tired of coming here!” You know your job as the second-due engine is to supply the fire department connection (FDC) and then join the first-due engine on the reported fire floor. As you arrive, the first-due engine reports, “Heavy smoke in the hallway on the 12th floor with reports of people trapped in the fire apartment. Request a working fire upgrade and a second alarm.” As you mentally prepare for…

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